I believe that a really positive habit to get into is to regularly set aside time to just stop what you’re doing and review the progress you are making in your business.
Now we’re three months into 2018 already (yikes!) and spring is here, now is a great time to conduct your first quarterly review.
Take time every quarter to check, are things on track and going well? Is everything headed in the right direction? And if not, what can you change for the three months ahead?
Regular business reviews are really beneficial and, if you feel inclined, I’d actually suggest doing them more regularly than quarterly if you can.
I do in-depth quarterly reviews plus less detailed weekly reviews. And I also aim to keep a daily journal, although I know this level of detail could seem OTT for some!
But that said, I think if you only manage a review of your business every three months, well, that’s better than never managing to get round to it at all!
90-day goal setting and performance reviews
Linked with reviewing your business performance every three months is the important task of setting goals.
Setting goals for your business may seem dull as dishwater. But, if you view the year in four chunks of three months or 90-days too, then goal setting can become more rewarding.
- 90 days is a long enough time for you to review the impact of any new efforts you’ve been making in a particular aspect of your business – perhaps you’ve tried Facebook Ads for the first time, or have introduced a new client referral scheme, and want to review whether the change is impacting your bottom line.
- But it’s also a short enough time frame for you to be able to tweak and adapt your strategy if things aren’t working out as you’d hoped.
And this chunking approach helps to prevent that inevitable sense of ‘where did the year go?’ by the time Christmas rolls around again.
I, for one, am always surprised about how quickly time flies and I’ve found quarterly reviews really useful, for this and many other reasons, since I started doing them in my own business.
Top tips from success coach, Clare Farthing
Managing your business in three months, or 90-day, chunks is an approach that success coach Clare Farthing is a huge advocate of.
She works with female entrepreneurs, helping them to achieve success in their lives and businesses by providing them with support and on-going accountability.
She agrees that doing quarterly business reviews is an important part of running a successful and satisfying business, and encourages all her clients to adopt the 90-day goal setting approach.
And since Clare knows her stuff when it comes to business reviews and goal setting (she is hosting a 90-day goal setting workshop in the spring), I’ve asked her to contribute some suggestions for this blog about the kind of things you should do as part of your business spring clean.
Here are her top tips.
Review your content and marketing communications
Clare suggests that every three months we should aim to discover what’s working and what isn’t.
She quite rightly says, “We spend so much time crafting our content and social media posts. Reviewing performance every three months is so important. After all, how else would you know if it’s working?”
She suggests reviewing who your ideal client is – have they changed as your business has grown and evolved over the past three months?
And how you are talking to your ideal clients/customers – does your marketing communication reflect the business you are trying to grow? Does it appeal to your ideal client?
Also, in regards to social media, she suggests looking at the following;
- Are you getting likes, comments and shares? Is engagement improving?
- What time of day is working best?
- Are you gaining clients/customers as a result of your social media activity?
- And, are you hanging out in the online places where your ideal clients/customers are? If not, it may be time to try other platforms.
Review financial goals
Keeping an eye on the numbers in your business is also important, Clare says:
“When you sat down and mapped out your financial goals at the beginning of the year, you had a figure in mind based on the number of clients/customer and/or product sales you wanted to achieve.
Three months in, are you on track? Have you exceeded them or fallen short?”
She continues: “If you need to make more money in your business to keep in line with your financial targets, think about how you can improve things.
Are you visible enough? Are you regularly showing up? Are you being consistent with your marketing?
What value are you giving your prospective clients? Do you need to give more value and if so, think about how you can do this.”
Adjust your next 90-Day Goals
The third step in your quarterly review is to re-evaluate your next 90-day goals, based on your performance in the previous three months.
In some areas, it may be that you’ve achieved more than you anticipated. Perhaps in others, less so.
Clare says, “Sometimes, our goals can change and become irrelevant and that’s okay. We and our businesses evolve over time and our focus, naturally, has to change. Goals can become irrelevant. Or they simply need to be put on hold due to other priorities.”
So, Clare suggests that the key thing is to recognise the need for adjusting your goals and to check in with yourself every three months to readjust your focus, as necessary.
Celebrate your wins!
Finally (and Clare told me this is her favourite tip), we should practice 90-day goal setting and performance reviews because it encourages us to celebrate our successes.
Clare says, “As a small business owner, YOU are your business so it’s important that you take the time to stop and smell the roses and celebrate your wins, no matter how small they may seem.”
“Celebrating not only makes us feel good, it’s important for self-care. By recognising our successes we acknowledge our learnings, feel a sense of achievement and reinforce the belief in ourselves that we are following our passion and doing what lights us up!”
Conducting a spring clean of your photography business
So, now you know more about why it’s worth carrying out a quarterly review and have an idea about how to do it, what other things – specific to your photography business – could you review?
Well, I’ve created a free checklist which you can grab a copy of below, listing 40 things you could consider when giving your photography business a spring clean.
There are suggestions in the checklist relating to everything from your business performance, your marketing, your procedures and processes, your admin and the forthcoming GDPR legislation.
But, I’ll warn you now, this checklist could keep you busy! Not everything on this list will be a five-minute job. But please don’t let the rather long list of suggestions put you off from taking action!
Even if you only do some of the things I have listed in the checklist, it is a step in the right direction and you’ll be able to move forward into the next phase of your business year with more clarity.
Will you be giving your photography business a spring clean?
I’d love to know if this post has inspired you to clear some time in your diary to conduct a spring clean of your photography business?
If so, what will you do first? And, what have you learnt as a result of doing the review? Do let me know in the comments below.